Disability snap shot

This post was originally a story about an experience my son and I had recently where I felt that ‘health and safety’ was mis-used as a barrier to his participation, the issue ‘feeling’ more like it was about his disability than ‘health and safety.’ I also reflected on the fact that he was not included in the conversation.
Although I believe it was a useful illustrative story of important youth-work issues, on reflection however I recognize that I posted it too close to the event and included too much specific detail.
I have therefore removed the post and offer my apologies to the organisation involved.

8 Replies to “Disability snap shot”

  1. Sorry, Sorry, Sorry to you and H!
    I’ll pass on details of the blog to the team
    Also, I’m not sure when you were there, but one of the team at the park was injured over the course of the weekend, so the team may not have been in the best space for thinking creativly when you happened to be there.That doesn’t make up for the disapointment, but maybe it provides a context.
    We are far prom perfect, but we do listen and try to learn

  2. David,
    I hesitated to post this but decided that it could be useful …. and here I was thinking about other youth workers rather than the actual person involved as that incident is passed and gone.
    I’m sorry to hear that someone was injured, i hope they recover well and speedily. It was a GREAT venue.
    I am a firm believer in Health and Safety BUT I believe the approach should be how do we include and make this happen safely, rather than an approach that excludes using health and safety as a barrier. (I also observed as I passed the venue over the weekend that virtually no-one was wearing helmets or other protective gear, you’ll therefore understand why it felt that my son ‘being a risk’ didn’t seem to be part of an entirely consistent approach to risk management)

  3. Hey,
    I’ve been downloading some of the talks at GB that I didn’t manage to get to. In the process I found one entitled “The Body of Christ has Down’s Syndrome.” Don’t know if you got to it. I haven’t listened to it yet but the title drew me in.
    Ian J

  4. I have received a response from the organization involved and am grateful for that ALTHOUGH my intention was for it to be a training story rather than an online complaint.
    The organisation are saddened that this was posted online and I am wrestling with that and whether I should have kept this story private.
    I apologise for any distress or annoyance caused and am upset that my actions have created tension.
    I hold the organisation involved in very high regard.
    Rightly or wrongly it was my intention to explore the danger of health and safety decisions being used to exclude.

  5. As a Youth worker I found the article useful, because it helped me understand the importance of inclusion and the effects on individuals involved. I found the debate and expression of frustration a useful discussion.I think that I can take from it an important insight and try to use it in my work.

  6. I missed the original post and so I don’t know who you were referring to (although I could probably work it out if I tried), or the nature of the original criticism. Knowing your style, I am sure that the intention was to highlight an issue and provide training. But it highlights the difficulty of anonymity in a blog that is read widely outside the Oxford Diocese. I am sorry that you felt the need to remove the post, but can understand why you felt that was for the best.
    Having said all that, it does highlight for me a concern within Christian culture of not being able to take criticism (I’m thinking here of the organisation, not you). Rather than taking it on the chin and saying ‘we made a mistake’ (albeit with mitigating circumstances, highlighted in the first reply), there is a tendency to ‘regret’ that the injured party felt the need to complain (particularly if it was publicly), as if it was the injured party’s fault that the problem happened in the first place. This is somewhat akin to what Philip Yancey describes as ‘Grace Abuse’ (I’ve wronged you, but because you’re a Christian you have to forgive me).
    Again, I am not having a pop at the organisation in question, but trying to highlight that – as youth workers in particular – we need to act with integrity, acknowledge our mistakes and shortcomings, and take criticism on the chin. Otherwise (particularly when dealing with non-Christians) we don’t show ourselves, or our Lord (or our professionalism) in a good light. We show professionalism by the way we address our shortcomings.
    The first reply that you received from David is the kind of reply I hope that i would give, if I were in that situation. The offline reply that you reported (at August 27, 2008 10:29 PM) is the kind that I hope that I would not give.

  7. Ray,
    a thoughtful and useful comment as ever, thanks for raising a useful point/challenge.
    I think the organisation involved took it on the chin pretty well but this was the cause of my anxiety as I did not intend it to be a complaint.
    You’ve started a useful train of thought in my mind though.

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